It may be a long, long flight, but exploring Singapore gives your kids bragging rights in the playground (not to mention a killer “What I Did on My March Break” journal entry). Don’t miss these:
Marina Bay Sands pool Your kids will talk about this spot for years. Take the elevator to the 57th floor and step into the 150-metre rooftop infinity pool. With nothing but a view along the western edge, it feels as if you’re swimming in the sky (and wait until you see the sunset). Put little ones down for naps in the lushly landscaped corners where you’ll find lounge chairs and a hot tub. Alas, you’ve got to be a hotel guest to swim; rooms start at $348 a night. marinabaysands.com
Singapore Flyer The world’s largest Ferris wheel (at least until the one in Dubai goes up) rises 165 metres over the city. Have the kids try to count all the tankers in the harbour, it’s the busiest in the world. The air-conditioned capsules hold up to 28 people, but it’s likely you won’t have to share on the 30-minute ride. $24 for adults; $17 for kids; singaporeflyer.com
Flight Experience Since you spent so long in a plane to get here, try flying one yourself. Flight Experience (at the Singapore Flyer complex) lets you get behind the stick of a Boeing 737 simulator. A real pilot offers a quick lesson on the controls, but acts strictly as co-pilot during take off and landing from your choice of 20,000 airports. It’s great, if pricey, fun. Flights start at $142 for 30 minutes. 30 Raffles Ave.; flightexperience.com.sg
Gardens by the Bay. This newly opened orgy of exoitc flowers, greenery and garden sculpture isn’t the Botanic Gardens (though Singapore has one of those too) but a feast for the eyes that covers 101 hectares. You’ll see flowers here you’ve never seen elsewhere and the 50 metre tall “supertrees” (metal and concrete columns covered in plants which put on a great light show at night) are oddly fascinating, make sure you take the family on the suspended skywalk. Also not to be missed are the two centrepiece domes: the Flower Dome, which includes a 1,000 year old olive tree, and the Cloud Forest Dome, which offers a cool, misty relief to Singapore’s legendary heat and humidity. $12 children, $23 adults; gardensbythebay.com.sg
Tekka Market If you and your kids can handle the pungent smells, get them to count how many types of fish they see in the stalls (keep your eyes peeled for octupus and sharks on ice). Reward them on the other side with banana fritters and cendol (shaved ice covered in dark, luscious palm sugar and bright green jelly “worms”). Farther down Serangoon Road you’ll find many beauty shops offering intricate henna designs for a little as $5. Serangoon and Buffalo Roads
Changi Airport This may be the most family friendly airport on Earth. Check out the 12-metre spiral slide at Terminal 3 – the only airport in the world to have one, Changi officials boast. Spend $10 at the airport and your receipt gets you a free ride down. Also in the public area, younger kids can frolic in balloon ball rooms, ride padded teeter totters and make art projects. Past immigration in T3 head to the outdoor Butterfly Garden for a close look at more than 50 fluttering varieties. And yes, that’s a 767 parked not six metres from the mesh wall. Steer older children to the Entertainment Deck at Terminal 2 (take the SkyTrain between terminals) for free Xbox, Playstation, Kinect and LAN gaming. And if your kid loves planes, outdoor and indoor views of the tarmac are easily found. changiairport.com
The writer travelled courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board.